» Thursday, November 25, 2004

Black Watch

Asked if as according to some army sources the Black Watch's was now not going to be saved the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the results of the review would be announced when the results of the review were announced and that he would simply warn people against indulging in speculation. In response to suggestions that others were briefing the PMOS said that to whoever was indulging in speculation he would simply say it was best to wait for the results of the review. Asked for some guidance on timing of the results of the review the PMOS said that because this was a matter being lead by the army it would be totally wrong for him to get involved in time sequences. Asked who would take the final decision the PMOS said that it would be based on a recommendation from the Army Board, which would then be passed through the Ministry of Defence to the Prime Minister. Asked for the timing of the Army Board meeting and the subsequent announcement the PMOS said he would not be getting involved in commenting on when the Army Board did or did not meet or on any announcement on the timescale as set by the Army Board not by us. Asked if it was right that the Secretary of State and the Armed Forces Minister were on the Army Board the PMOS said that the membership of the Board was a matter for the MoD to comment on. We would all have to wait and see what the Army Board recommended and then we would follow procedure.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked about Peter Hain's comment in the House of Commons saying the Government was against the England team touring in Zimbabwe and the Foreign Secretary's more neutral stance that it was not a matter for the Government to decide and which of the two positions was accurate the PMOS reminded journalists what the Foreign Secretary had said on 6 May at a joint press conference with Tim Lamb, Chief Executive of the ECB, David Morgan and Tessa Jowell:

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Drugs Visit

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said the Prime Minister and David Blunkett would visit a police station west of London today, to highlight new measures the Government is introducing to tackle the menace of hard drugs.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked about Cabinet earlier in the morning, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that there had been a presentation by Lord Falconer about the DCA's plans to put the needs of the citizen as a consumer at the heart of the criminal justice system, i.e. to make it as much a public service as any other, and adapted to their needs.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Zimbabwe Cricket

Asked if the Government had a view on whether the cricket team should proceed with their tour in Zimbabwe, following rumours that the ban on journalists had been lifted, the PMOS replied that there had not been official confirmation on the lifted ban, and until there had been, he would not comment. In terms of the general position, the Government was very clear, as the situation in Zimbabwe was not one that we in any way supported, and he repeated that it was for the cricketing authority to make up their minds and take any decisions on the matter.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Middle East

Asked whether there was any further development on the possibility of a London Conference on the Middle East, the PMOS answered that the next step in the process were the Palestinian elections, and to do everything we could to allow those elections to take place. With regards to what would happen afterwards, as we said during the White House visit, any conference would not be held just for the sake of holding one; instead, it would be a means to an end. The first step towards the end, therefore, would be to hold elections, then to hold proper discussions about how to build up Palestinian infrastructure, so it could respond positively to a withdrawal from the Israeli authority. Only then could it progress forward to final status negotiations. All of those steps needed to be taken bit by bit, rather than jumping ahead.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Dr. Solana/Hamas

Asked if anyone was aware that Dr. Xavier Solana had had indirect contact with Hamas, the PMOS replied that our position remained as Jack Straw had commented on earlier, which was we did not believe in contact with Hamas, or other prescribed organisations. What all those organisations had to do, if they wanted to take part in discussion was to renounce violence.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Northern Ireland

Asked about the recent discussions Dr. Ian Paisley had with the Prime Minister, the PMOS said that discussions with the parties would continue, and he thought it better that they continued in private. What was significant was that all sides accepted it was an important time, and the time for decisions was short. How the decisions were reached was something the parties would want to reflect on, and we would want to discuss with them as a result.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

G8/Africa Presidency Plans

Asked if the Prime Minister had any prospective plans for the G8/Africa Presidency in terms of ideas or conferences, the PMOS said that with regards to climate change, there would be a conference of experts in February. The next step in the climate change debate would be to identify the new technologies that would allow us to combine the process of having new environmentally friendly policies whilst at the same time, maintaining economic growth. In terms of Africa, the Africa Commission continued its very intensive work, which would go forward in the new year.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Text Messages

Asked about the Prime Minister's "mysterious text message business" the PMOS replied that it was not mysterious at all. He said that people texted questions to the Prime minister, and he then replied.
Asked if people would have access to the message exchanges, the PMOS said he thought not, but if people wanted to text the Prime Minister, then they could.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

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